Chapter 4 Notes from The Pearl

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The Pearl Chapter 4

Kino and Juana prepare themselves to sell the pearl. They dress in their best clothes, and as they go into town, their neighbors follow. It is an historic moment in La Paz, and everyone wants to watch it unfold. The buyers are waiting for Kino and his pearl, already certain of what they will pay for it and how they will con him into accepting their meager offer. Juan Tomas, Kino's brother, warns Kino that he must not be cheated, and Kino agrees; he is aware of the potential for being taken advantage of in this situation.

When Kino shows his pearl to the first buyer, the man examines it and offers Kino a thousand pesos for it because he claims that it is too big to be worth much. He suggests that it is too clumsy to be valuable and is only a curiosity. Kino exclaims that the buyer is trying to cheat him, so the buyer calls on the other pearl agents to come in and estimate the pearl's value without hearing the first buyer's offer. The other men come in and claim that the pearl is worthless. When Kino grabs the pearl and prepares to leave, the first buyer raises his offer to fifteen hundred pesos. This does no good because Kino is now enraged. He tells the buyers and his neighbors that he will find a buyer for his pearl even if he has to go to the capital to do it. The buyers are angry that he didn't fall into their trap. Kino returns home with Juana and Coyotito.

Topic Tracking: Evil 5

Kino's neighbors are uncertain about his decision to sell the pearl elsewhere. Perhaps the buyers were being honest about the worth of the pearl. Or maybe they had worked out their scheme beforehand. No one knew. Kino buries the pearl under the fire stone in his hut and is afraid of what he has done. Knowing he must travel to sell the pearl, Kino will leave his old, familiar world and face a journey and a life that is new to him. Although he is frightened, he has to follow through with his plan. "For his dream of the future was real and never to be destroyed, and he had said, 'I will go,' and that made a real thing too. To determine to go and to say it was to be halfway there." Chapter 4, pg. 69 Juan Tomas (Kino's brother) comes in and tells Kino that he is afraid for him. Although the pearl buyers were trying to cheat him, Kino has defied not just the buyers, but his entire way of life. Juan is afraid for Kino because from that point on, his life is new and without a script, and that makes it dangerous. Kino insists that it will work out fine because his friends will protect him. Juan leaves and Kino sits silently listening to the sounds around him. Juana watches him with worry and sings softly her ancient song as if she is trying to ward off the Song of Evil that Kino hears.

Kino hears a noise outside and takes his knife with him to the doorway. Juana is afraid for him as he steps out into the black night. She hears a struggle and when she goes to the doorway, Kino lays there half-conscious and bleeding from a cut on his face. She takes him inside and cleans him up. Kino did not see who attacked him, and Juana is worried. She urges Kino again to throw the pearl away because it is evil, but he refuses to give up their one chance. She protests again, but he hushes her. He tells her that they will leave in the morning and go to the capital to sell the pearl. They go to sleep.

Topic Tracking: Evil 6
Topic Tracking: Family 4
Topic Tracking: Superstition 6

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